This week has been the prelude to falling temperatures and a perfect time of year to take that annual “walk” through-out your home and yard. As the thermometer begins to dip, your home will require maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape for the winter, and for years to come. Below is a checklist of handy tips that will help ward off nasty winter surprises.
CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS
After the leaves fall, be sure to remove them and other trapped debris from your home’s gutters. The goal is for the winter rain and snow to melt and drain properly. You can remove leaves by hand or using a spatula and then giving it a good hose rinse to make sure there are no blockages. Clogged gutters can create water back up and ice dams that freeze and cause water to seep into the house.
CHECK YOUR FURNACE
A properly maintained furnace will last longer, work better and run more efficiently. So before the cold winter nights set in, call your HVAC professional for your furnace’s annual check-up. Without the yearly clean-ing and inspection a system can wear itself out, pump deadly carbon monoxide into your home, or simply quit working when you least expect it. Currently we are running our annual Precision Tune-up special that ends by Sept. 23 — $50 off the regular value. Your heating system is no different than maintaining you car with regular maintenance; it is actually imperative for the longevity of your equipment.
PREVENT PLUMBING FREEZES
When temperatures drop below freezing, water in the faucets can freeze and cause your pipes to burst and create a nightmare. So before Jack Frost sets his grip, locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency, and turn off water from the indoor supply valve so that no water remains in the faucet. Then drain the outdoor faucets, spray nozzles, sprinklers, and hoses before disconnecting and storing inside for the winter. I suggest calling a professional lawn service to take care of this for you … nobody likes calling a restoration company when their home’s pipes have not been properly taken care of.
EXAMINE DOORS AND WINDOWS
To check for cold air entering into your home, close all windows and doors, turn on an exhaust fan, then take an incense stick and hold it near a door or win-dow. If the smoke blows horizontally, you have found a leak. An easy fix is to use weather-stripping around the doors to prevent cold air from creeping in and use caulk around your windows.
Now is the time of year to make sure you stop running your sprinkler system. Several years ago we had an unusual warm fall and we kept watering until October, and then we had a hard freeze. Come spring, we lost several aspens, as we had not given them enough time to go dormant. Also, by cutting back the water, this is how the beautiful fall colors emerges. As Mr. Frost peeks his head around the corner, many of your summer annuals are not cold hardy; I pull these plants out and add the seasonal mums and ornamental cabbages currently available at our local flower and nursery shops. Both will last well into November as our temperature begins to dip. Many of the ornamental grasses that you planted last spring in your pots, will thrive through the cool fall temperatures. Other favorite fall perennials, are asters, black-eyed Susans and the larger sedums, so pretty right now.
If some of these items seem a bit daunting, our Team is here to help. Your comfort is my Central concern, call 756-6656 for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs!
Finally, for years I used to wait until spring to trim back my yard, as I enjoyed the grasses as they dried as well as some of the perennials that would stay pretty until our first big snow. For the past few years, I am doing all of my “spring” trimming in late October. Our winters can be very mild; one good snowfall can weigh the plants down, and it looks messy. Trimming everything back as well as your shrubs gives a nice clean look all winter long, and allows for the buds to prepare for spring.